Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service is getting dangerously close to becoming the “Netflix for games” we’ve always wanted. The service has been putting up some big subscription numbers lately, but increasing competition and a lack of new AAA games could cause subscribers to look elsewhere, according to Kotaku. Several gaming reporters have shared their decision to cancel Game Pass on Twitter, and the replies are largely in agreement.
Game Pass is available starting at $10 per month if you only want PC or console access. The $15 monthly plan includes both, plus access to cloud streaming for select titles. That allows you to play Game Pass titles on low-power laptops, tablets, and even phones. Microsoft advertises more than 100 games and more being added all the time. Though there’s nothing wrong with a raft of indie titles or AAA games from a few years ago, one of the major draws is day-one access to all Xbox Game Studios titles. If you don’t play at least a few AAA games per year, the cost of the subscription doesn’t make sense.
Recently, Microsoft’s newly acquired Bethesda subsidiary announced that it would have to delay the space RPG Starfield and vampire shooter Redfall. Both were slated to arrive this year, and as part of the Xbox Game Studios family, they would have been added immediately to Game Pass. Now, these games are not expected until the first half of 2023, making Microsoft’s remaining 2022 calendar much more sparse.
Unsubbed from Game Pass. The service is great but there aren’t any AAA exclusives to compel me to stay. I’ll be back when the titles start dropping.
— Tony Polanco (@Romudeth) May 22, 2022
This leaves gamers with a conundrum—modern console games retail for $60 at launch, and many of the indie titles that fill out Game Pass are even cheaper. Anyone who was subscribing to Game Pass to get access to the latest and greatest Microsoft exclusives will have to take a look at how much they actually use the service. Some have publicly stated their intention to give their Game Pass subscription a break.
Previously, Microsoft has crowed about hitting 25 million subscribers. Will all of them stay, though? Some attempts at breaking into the gaming space have fallen flat (looking at you, Stadia), but competition is increasing for Microsoft. Sony is set to launch a revamped version of PS Plus. While this service won’t include day-one releases of first-party content, it does have hundreds of titles from the PS4, PS5, and titles going all the way back to the PS One. Microsoft only reached those much-vaunted subscriber numbers with a number of big releases like Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite. If it can’t keep up the pace, Game Pass might not be the runaway success it appeared to be last year.